Glossary for A Death in Your Family

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Helen Low, QC and Nicco Bautista in January 2017.
Autopsy
A thorough medical examination of a body after death. It may be done to find out how or why a person has died, or to learn about a disease or injury.
Assets
Property owned by a person at their death. Assets can include things such as money, land, investments, and personal possessions such as jewelry and furniture.
Coroner
An appointed official who investigates all unnatural, sudden or unexpected deaths in BC.
Cremation
Using extreme heat and processing to turn a body after death into sand-like "ashes".
Death certificate
A certified extract of the registration of death. Survivors need to provide a death certificate to apply for benefits and to settle the legal and business affairs of the deceased.
Disposition permit
A permit to dispose of human remains or cremated human remains in BC.
Embalming
Preserving a body from decomposing after death by treating it with chemicals.
Estate
All of the property and belongings a person owns at their death, with certain exceptions such as jointly owned property.
Executor
The person appointed in a will to carry out the instructions in the will and settle the will-maker's affairs after they die.
Funeral home
A business that provides funeral services for a person who has died and their families.
Medical certificate of death
A certificate signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or coroner within 48 hours of death stating that the person has died and the cause of death.
Memorial society
By becoming a member of a memorial society, a person may obtain funeral services at a lower cost. Memorial societies typically negotiate fixed prices with selected funeral homes.
Next-of-kin
A person’s closest living blood relative or relatives.
Obituary notice
A notice of the death of a person, often with a short biography.
Preneed cemetery or funeral services contract
A contract that provides for cemetery or funeral services for one or more persons who are alive at the time the contract is entered into.
Pronouncement of death
Giving an opinion that life has ceased based on a physical assessment of the person.
Will
A legal document that leaves instructions about what a person wants done with their assets and obligations after they die.


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence A Death in Your Family © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.
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